According to Department of Justice numbers released Tuesday, massive year-over-year progress is being made in getting illegal aliens out of the country.
From February 1, days after President Donald Trump issued his executive order on border security, until the end of July, immigration judges of the Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR) have issued 49,983 orders of removal, 27.8 percent more than in the same period last year. An additional 7,088 orders of “voluntary departure,” which, if an illegal is still in the country after a set date, automatically become orders of removal, were handed down. The combined figure for the two types of removal orders is up 30.9 percent year-over-year.
Orders of removal and deportations are not identical. Deportations are carried out by the Department of Homeland Security pursuant to EOIR orders of removal as well as under other circumstances.
The Department of Justice characterized the ramp-up as a “Return to Rule of Law” in an accompanying press release.
Pursuant to the executive order, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has rushed existing immigration judges both to overcrowded detention facilities in border districts and to inland cities with pervasive illegal alien problems. There to greet them was a massive backlog of immigration cases, reported earlier this year at over 540,000. The DOJ claims 100 immigrati0n judges were relocated under the plan. The reorganization efforts appear to have resulted in a overall increase of 14.5 percent in final adjudications, for a total of 73,127 in the six months after Trump’s executive order.
Further efforts for reform are underway at the EOIR, the branch of the Justice Department responsible for the immigration courts. In May, the Obama-appointed director and deputy of the office tendered their resignations and have been replaced by acting replacements of Sessions’s choosing. Long-term, the hope is to significantly expand the corps of immigration judges. The DOJ’s 2017 budget request asked Congress for funds to appoint an additional 75 immigration judges, representing a 25 percent increase in the total number. The DOJ’s press release touted 54 newly-minted immigration judges since President Trump has taken office. Seven were sworn in this May, with an additional dozen taking office around the country in June and July.